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Immigration Slowdown May Hurt MN Economy

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Friday, December 1, 2017   

MINNEAPOLIS – It's not just talk. The Trump State Department is denying more permits for foreign workers. That means Minnesota businesses are not able to hire employees they need - from medical specialists to agricultural workers who milk most of the state's cows.

Laura Danielson is a Minneapolis attorney and the new president of an international group called the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers. She says her clients are facing a worker shortage.

"This is not about taking jobs away from American workers," she says. "We do not see anyone that is hiring workers for cheaper wages, for example. We are seeing companies that simply cannot find qualified U.S. workers."

Danielson says business immigration lawyers like herself are going to have to become pro-immigration advocates and may even consider litigation to call attention to the issue.

Personnel cuts at the State Department mean fewer people are available to process visa applications. And Danielson says there are roadblocks to legal immigration like she's never seen in 30 years of practice.

"This year has been the hardest, by far," she notes. "You know, there are no new laws, but they've implemented unwritten policies that have made it much, much more difficult to get standard types of approvals that we were accustomed to getting in the past."

Danielson says if the obstacles to legal immigration continue, foreign students and skilled professionals are likely to choose to work and study elsewhere.


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